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Recap: Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapses, 6 presumed dead

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Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses, six presumed dead 03:43

A recovery operation will resume Wednesday morning in search for the six construction workers who were on the Francis Scott Key Bridge when it collapsed early Tuesday morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard announced Tuesday evening the search has been suspended for the night and the workers are presumed to be dead.

"Based on the length of time that we've gone into search, the extensive search efforts we put into it, the water temperature, at this time, we don't believe we will find these individuals still alive," said Admiral Shannon Gilreath, with the U.S. Coast Guard. 

"We are going to suspend the active search and rescue efforts," Gilreath said. "We are just going to transition to a different phase."  

The bridge collapsed after a large container ship struck one of its support columns around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The scene had remained an active search and rescue throughout much of the day Tuesday.

Officials said eight construction workers were repairing potholes on the bridge when the cargo ship crashed into the column. Two were rescued, with one refusing treatment while another was taken to Shock Trauma and later discharged. The other six had not been found as of early Wednesday morning.

Colonel Roland Butler, with the Maryland State Police, said water and weather conditions made it difficult for first responders to continue searching Tuesday evening.

"The changing of conditions have made it dangerous for the first responders and divers in the water," Butler said. "We will still have surface ships out overnight and tomorrow morning we are hoping to put divers in the water and begin a more detailed search to do our best to recover those six individuals."


CASA identifies one of the victims

CASA identified one of the victims as Miguel Luna, from El Salvador, who has lived in Maryland for 19 years.

He has a wife and three children.

"In the aftermath of the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, our hearts ache for the families of the victims and all those impacted by this horrific accident," said CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres. "Sadly, we discovered that one of the construction workers involved was a longtime member of our CASA family, adding an even deeper layer of sorrow to this already grievous situation."  

By Adam Thompson

U.S. Coast Guard says it is now a 'recovery' mission

U.S. Coast Guard said Tuesday night that six missing construction workers are presumed to be dead based on the duration of the search efforts at the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The Coast Guard said the rescue mission has turned into a recovery mission and divers will not be in the water overnight.

The recovery efforts will continue early Wednesday morning. 

By Adam Thompson

VP Kamala Harris addresses bridge collapse

Vice President Kamala Harris expressed her support for those impacted by the bridge collapse.

"We are all praying for the families of those who are missing and all of those who have been touched by this tragedy," Harris said. "I spoke with the governor of Maryland this morning and we have directed the federal government to use all the resources that are available to assist with search and rescue, to reopen the port and to rebuild the bridge as quickly as possible. I know we will continue to stand with the people of Maryland." 

By Adam Thompson

Carnival cruise ship won't return to Baltimore

Carnival Legend will not return to port in Baltimore on Sunday as scheduled following the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse.

Instead, the cruise ship will return to Norfolk and passengers will be provided with complimentary bus service back to Baltimore.

Carnival Legend's next seven-day itinerary on March 31 will then operate from and return to Norfolk. 

"Our thoughts remain with the impacted families and first responders in Baltimore," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We appreciate the pledge made by President Biden today to dedicate all available resources to reopen Baltimore Harbor to marine traffic as soon as possible. As those plans are finalized, we will update our future cruise guests on when we will return home to Baltimore, but in the meantime, we appreciate the quick response and support from officials in Norfolk."  

By Adam Thompson

Employer says 6 missing bridge workers are "presumed dead"

According to the Associated Press, a senior executive with the company that employed the bridge construction workers said the six missing workers are presumed to be dead, given the water's depth, temperature, and the time that has passed since the accident.

Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, told the AP that the crew was working in the middle of the bridge's span when it crumbled into the water.

"This was so completely unforeseen," he said. "We don't know what else to say."

"We take such great pride in safety, and we have cones and signs and lights and barriers and flaggers," he added. "But we never foresaw that the bridge would collapse." 

No authorities on scene have confirmed any deaths to CBS Baltimore.

By Julie Eich

Before and After

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore
Top: The Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed in Baltimore after being struck by the Dali cargo vessel on March 26, 2024. Bottom: File photo of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, with Baltimore's skyline in the distance, on March 24, 2024. Reuters / REUTERS
By Julie Eich

'This is no ordinary bridge'

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Baltimore on Tuesday after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed when it was struck by a cargo ship.

About 50 divers are searching for six unaccounted for construction workers.

"This is an excruciating day for several families who went to bed having it be a normal night and woke up to news that no one wants to receive," Buttigieg said. "They are hoping and praying and we are hoping and praying with them. We are all putting our arms around the city of Baltimore, and that is true for all of  this country."

Buttigieg confirmed that the federal government will continue to support Baltimore and those impacted by the bridge collapse.

"This is no ordinary bridge," Buttigieg said. "This is one of the cathedrals in American infrastructure. It has been part of the skyline for this region for longer than many of us have been alive. The path to normalcy will not be easy. It will not be quick. It will not be inexpensive but we will rebuild together."

"Our work is just beginning to rebuild this bridge and to reopen this port and deal with the supply impacts in the meantime," Buttigieg  added. "Today, we are most acutely focused on the emergency response and the families."

By Adam Thompson

About the container ship Dali

Called the Dali, the 948-foot vessel that hit the Francis Scott Key Bridge is managed by Synergy Marine Group, a Singapore-based company with over 660 ships under management around the world.

The group said the ship was operated by charter vessel company Synergy Group and chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk at the time of Tuesday morning's crash.

The Dali, which can carry up to 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, was carrying nearly 4,700 containers at the time of the collision. It was operated by a 22-person, Indian crew. It was not immediately clear what kind of cargo the ship was carrying.

By Julie Eich

Missing men have spouses, children

According to CBS Baltimore's media partners at the Baltimore Banner, the six missing bridge workers are all men are from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. They currently live in Dundalk and Highlandtown.

The Banner reports the men are their 30s and 40s and have spouses and children. 

"They are all hard-working, humble men," the Banner was told.

By Julie Eich

Patient discharged from Shock Trauma

A patient who was treated after the Key Bridge collapse has been discharged from the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, hospital officials confirmed. While originally reported in serious condition, hospital officials said that patient is now doing well.

By Adam Thompson

'Maryland tough, Baltimore strong'

In his remarks from the White House Tuesday, President Joe Biden said he plans to visit the city "as soon as I can."

"Our prayers are with everyone involved in this terrible accident and all the families, especially those awaiting word of their loved one right now."

"We're incredibly grateful for the brave rescuers that immediately rushed to the scene, and to the people of Baltimore I want to say we're with you. We're going to stay with you as long as it takes."

"You're Maryland tough, you're Baltimore strong and we're going to get through this tougher. I promise we're not leaving."

By Julie Eich

Biden says feds should pay for Key Bridge rebuild

Speaking Tuesday afternoon, President Joe Biden said the federal government should pay to rebuild the collapsed Francis Scott Key bridge, pointing out its importance to the region's, and nation's economy.

"It is my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect the Congress to support my effort," Mr. Biden said in remarks from the White House  

By Julie Eich

Alternate routes to take

Officials say commuters should go through I-95 or I-895 with the Harbor and Fort McHenry Tunnels to cross the harbor. 

Tractor-trailers and vehicles transporting hazardous materials can't go through the tunnels and should take the western section of I-695. 

All tractor-trailers with clearance to drive through the tunnels will need to be checked for hazardous materials, possibly increasing traffic delays.

Alert Traffic reporter Angela Foster said drivers should expect delays of more than an hour. 

Detours in place after Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse 01:07
By Julie Eich

Where did the cargo ship come from?

The 948-foot container ship, called Dali, was departing Baltimore and headed toward Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, when it crashed, the MidAtlantic Coast Guard told CBS News. 

The vessel is time-chartered by the Danish shipping giant Maersk and operated by Synergy Marine Group, a charter vessel company.

Synergy said in a statement that it had activated its own incident response team and was "fully cooperating with Federal and State govenrment agencies under an approved plan." It said two pilots were steering the Dali, although it could not yet provide their names. Twenty-two crew members on the ship are all Indian nationals, Synergy said.

Click here to read more on what we know about the ship.

By Emily Mae Czachor

Six bridge workers unaccounted for

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott tells CBS News that six people are now unaccounted for. All six of those people are contractors who were doing work on the concrete decking at the time of the collapse. Two additional workers were rescued from the water.

By Julie Eich

No evidence of terrorism

Federal authorities said Tuesday morning that they don't believe it was intentional or related to terrorism when a container ship crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge..

"There is no specific or credible information to suggest there are ties to terrorism in this incident," said William J. DelBagno, the special agent in charge of the FBI's Baltimore field office, during a press conference.. 

Federal and state authorities, including the National Transportation Safety Board, are continuing their investigations.

By Julie Eich

GALLERY: Images show full extent of damage to bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed early Tuesday after a column was hit by a large container ship after the vessel lost power, sending vehicles and people into the Patapsco River. Click below to see the latest images from the area, as crews continue at the scene.

By CBS Baltimore Staff

Bridge inspection scored 6 of 9

The latest federal inspection report for the Francis Scott Key Bridge was filed in May 2022. The span scored a 6 out of 9, considered Fair. That is a passing grade.

The Key Bridge had been in Fair condition since 2008. One of the concerns pointed to in that 2022 report was with one of the reinforced concrete columns. That column was downgraded from Health Index of 77.8 to 64.9. It is unclear if that column was the one struck by the ship Dali on Tuesday morning.

By Julie Eich

Crews were working on bridge overnight

Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, Paul Wiedefeld, said there were workers doing concrete repairs on the bridge at the time of the collapse. It is unknown exactly how many workers.

By Julie Eich

The container ship 'Dali' lost power

An unclassified Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency memo reviewed by CBS News said the container ship Dali lost power before the collision. That information was confirmed to CBS News by a law enforcement official. 

By Julie Eich

About the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977 and was named for the writer of "The Star Spangled Banner."

The bridge crossed the Patapsco River, a key waterway for East Coast shipping.

About 31,000 people took the bridge each day, which spanned 1.6 miles.

By Julie Eich

Governor Moore declares state of emergency

Moore declared a state of emergency Tuesday, which will allow Maryland to coordinate and request emergency resources and federal support.

Gov. Moore declares State of Emergency following collapse of key bridge 01:15
By Julie Eich

An emotional Mayor Scott urges prayer

In a press conference Tuesday morning, Baltimore Mayor Scott called the collapse "an unthinkable tragedy."

"We have to first and foremost pray for all of those who are impacted, those families, pray for our first responders and thank them," he said. "We have to be thinking about the families and people impacted. We have to try to find them safe."

By Julie Eich

Witnesses react: "Can't believe it's gone"

A witness who lives near the bridge told WJZ the collapse felt like an earthquake and sounded like "a big bash of thunder."

"The whole house vibrated, like my house was falling down," he said. "I've been in this neighborhood 57 years, I remembered when they built this bridge. Can't believe it's gone."

Another resident reflected on being on the bridge just yesterday. "To see the bridge gone knowing I was on that bridge not even 10 hours ago - it's devastating."

"I crossed it twice yesterday:" Residents reflect after Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses into rive 08:28
By Julie Eich

About Port of Baltimore

The Port of Baltimore is the 9th busiest port in the U.S. According to U.S Census data, the port handled more than $80 billion in imports and exports in 2023, the most in 20 years.

There are 15,000 direct jobs, nearly 140,000 indirect jobs impacted by the port. That represents $3.3 billion in personal income.

By Julie Eich
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